The Utah Valley University men’s soccer team (4-7-1, 2-4 conference) was held scoreless in a 1-0 decision by the San Jose State University Spartans (8-4-2, 4-1-1) on Sunday at Spartan Soccer Complex in San Jose, California.
The Wolverines now fall to 1-7-1 on the road.
Despite the loss, the Wolverines remain in seventh in the Western Athletic Conference standings. The Spartans are currently ranked second in the standings and the Air Force University Falcons (7-4-2, 6-0) lead the conference.
After giving up a goal to the Spartans midgame, the Wolverines were never able to respond in a physical matchup. SJSU goalkeeper David Sweeney didn’t make life any easier for the UVU as he racked up five saves in the game.
Midfielder Abel Mendoza led the way for the Wolverines with three shots, including two on goal. Alejandro Silva and Owen Knecht followed with two shots apiece. Four other Wolverines were able to fire a shot as well.
UVU outshot SJSU 12-8 in shots, 5-1 in shots on goal, and 6-2 in corner kicks.
However, the match was a physical one as the Wolverines picked up 18 fouls, including three yellow cards and a red card by Ben Ortiz in the 85th minute. This marks the second-straight game of a Wolverine player picking up a red card. The Spartans had 15 fouls and three yellow cards as well.
After a battling start to the first half, Spartans’ midfielder Beau Leroux fired the first shot of the game in the 11th minute but missed. SJSU midfielder Finlay Wood tried an attempt of his own five minutes later but missed high and away to the right.
The following 17 minutes didn’t favor the Wolverines as they picked up six fouls, a yellow card by Ortiz, and were called offsides three times.
Knecht tried to put UVU on the board in the 34th minute but missed high and away to the right. Less than eight minutes later, Knecht picked up a yellow card of his own.
Spartan defender Kasper Poulsgaard tried to put SJSU up before the whistle in the 44th minute but missed high.
The second half began with Spartan forward Anthony Guzman, assisted by Leroux, punching in a goal in the 48th minute to put SJSU up 1-0.
Wolverine midfielder Easton Embley tried to respond in the 54th minute with a shot towards the bottom right half of the goal but Sweeney made the save for the Spartans. Defender Nik Kizerian fired another UVU shot a few minutes later but his attempt was blocked by the SJSU defense.
The match would go back and forth over the next 26 minutes as both teams had an onslaught of fouls that prevented momentum and exchanged shots that weren’t able to fall through.
Silva had a good look as he fired towards the bottom left corner in the 83rd minute but Sweeney made the save. Mendoza tried to follow through with another shot seconds later but Sweeney again made the stop.
Despite the red card by Ortiz in the 85th minute that left the Wolverines down one man on the field, midfielder Carter Johnson gave his best shot, trying to find the right corner of the post but Sweeney saved the attempt. Mendoza fired right after but missed again.
However, Mendoza wasn’t finished yet as he tried a second follow through shot by attacking the bottom left half of the post but Sweeney again prevented the goal. The Spartans then held on to win 1-0.
The Wolverines will next compete against in-state and WAC rival Utah Tech University Trailblazers (3-10-2, 1-3-2) on Friday at 6 p.m. MT back home at Clyde Field in Orem, Utah. The Trailblazers are currently on a three-game skid while the Wolverines are 3-0 at home this season. The match can be streamed on ESPN+.
Sophomore at UVU. Writer for the UVU review, statistician for UVU ESPN+, and play-by-play commentator for UVU Men’s Lacrosse.